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Business Process Improvement at the Inner Harbor

UMBC Columbus Center Reaps the Benefits of E-signatures

October 4, 2018 10:17 AM

Any frequent visitor to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor will recognize the striking architecture of the Columbus Center. Located near the Baltimore Aquarium and the Hard Rock Cafe, the Columbus Center is a 250,000-square-foot facility purchased by the University System of Maryland back in 1998. It is the home of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology and hosts a number of events for University System of Maryland Institutions, as well as for private businesses and nonprofits throughout the region.

Naturally, they must create contracts for all of the events they host and the office space they lease, and they have adopted electronic signature technology to do so.

Utilizing the e-signature software DocuSign, the Columbus Center has been able to significantly decrease the time it takes for forms to circulate between signers. Not only has new digital processing reduced the amount of manual data entry required to complete these forms, it has also integrated very well with the Columbus Center’s current procedures.

Using a Google Add-On called Form Publisher, Event Coordinator Chad Nazworth has been able to prepopulate most of the event rental contract with the client’s responses in a Google form. After adding a few more details and verifying that everything is correct, he can then use a Google Add-On for DocuSign that will move the form directly to a template, automatically matching the signing roles and workflow with the names specified by the client. Nazworth can then edit the document and recipients list in a number of ways, such as adding a custom email message for each recipient to help guide them through the signing process.

Once the form is sent, it will arrive in each recipient’s inbox in order, allowing them to review and sign the document with only a few clicks. Meanwhile, Nazworth can track the form as it progresses through the workflow until it arrives at its final destination, eliminating the worry and panic that comes with waiting for important forms right before a deadline. Overall, a process that previously could take weeks can now be finished in mere days, thanks to the versatility of the digital platform and the inventive integration with familiar tools and business practices.

The Columbus Center was even able to get the Maryland Attorney General Office (OAG) on board with e-signatures. According to the Columbus Center’s Director of Administration Suzanne L. Crawford, the OAG was happy to accept a more efficient, eco-friendly process for lease agreements, especially those that need to be updated every year.

With multiple layers of security and authentication, the digital process also generates a complete history of every send, view, print, sign, and decline action and stores it in a certificate, which any participant in the workflow can download and print. This means that e-signatures are both legally binding and enforceable.   

In addition to the time, cost, and security benefits of using e-signatures, there is the empowerment that comes with taking control of the internal workflows of a business or institution and reorienting them to align with the interests of the staff as well as outside clients.

Sometimes change management can be a bit daunting, but Crawford recommends looking at it as an “opportunity to improve the quality of your own work experience as well as that of your peers and clients.” The benefits that business process improvement offers are immense, and digitizing workflow is a very strategic first step.

Tune in next week for more e signature success stories!

More Info:

·      Visit the DocuSign myUMBC Group

·      Visit UMBC’s FAQ knowledge base

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